In an age of instant everything, ensuring a positive customer experience has become a top priority for enterprises. When one third of customers (32%) say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience (source: PWC), organizations are now applying massive investments to this experience, particularly with their live agents and contact centers. 

For many enterprises, that investment includes modernizing their call centers by moving to cloud-based Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platforms. CCaaS solutions — such as NICE CXone — are powerful solutions for arming live agents with flexible, agile tools that allow agents to get the job done from anywhere. CCaaS solutions lead to higher customer resolution rates, lower agent response times and higher agent morale and retention. 

Even with these modernization benefits, the focus on human agents makes it difficult to deliver superior customer experiences. In addition to the cost of recruiting, training and retaining agents, human-led contact centers struggle to scale in times of high demand. This can lead to long wait times and makes it difficult to find the right agent across the various entry points such as voice, web, mobile apps and SMS. 

Is AI the solution?

To combat this, companies have begun to consider bringing AI to the table as part of their modernization…but this tends to be a fleeting thought. Why is that? 

If AI can deflect 70% of calls from humans, can route to the right agents when a customer needs specialized assistance and can save companies millions of dollars on headcount, why aren’t companies jumping at the opportunity? Why are only 2% of calls in the contact center handled by AI (source: TechMonitor)? 

  1. Most AI isn’t mature enough yet. The idea that AI deflects 70% of traffic sounds too good to be true. The reality is that most AI products today require a team of developers, data scientists and lots of investment to get such high deflection from the AI.
  2. Authoring AI solutions is too complex. The typical build experience requires development and telephony expertise. It takes about 3 months to build a simple chatbot for a single use case.
  3. The contact center isn’t optimized for self-serve. Contact centers focus too much on the human-to-human experience. They neglect the top of funnel challenges that prevent customers from self serving.

And while these three objections have historically rang true, the promise of large language models (LLMs) is forcing enterprises to view the customer experience through new lenses. The world is moving from “+AI” to “AI+.” Artificial intelligence is no longer an after-thought, and tools like ChatGPT are proof that AI is ready to play a key role in helping customers self-serve. 

Watsonx Assistant has designed a conversational AI platform to help your customers do just that. We can help modernize your contact center:

  1. We’re generative AI first. Assistant uses LLM-powered AI to achieve greater accuracy with 80% less training effort. Capabilities like conversational search allow you to answer questions even when your Assistant encounters an untrained topic.
  2. We’re easy to build. Our no-code and generative authoring experience makes it vastly faster to build with watsonx Assistant than any other Conversational AI platform. Actions, our conversation design builder, was designed for non-technical users and eliminates the need to understand bot logic like nodes, dialog trees, etc. 
  3. We have native integrations for self-serve. Our integrations framework makes it easy to integrate with your existing tech stack (e.g., service desks, CRMs, databases, etc.), enabling your customers to self-serve using the systems you already have in place. 

How do we come together with NICE CXone?

We’re excited to announce our native integration with NICE CXone! Watsonx Assistant is now available within NICE CXone’s Virtual Agent Hub, and NICE CXone is now a native integration within watsonx Assistant. You now have the flexibility to use either platform’s front end across phone and text channels while leveraging watsonx Assistant’s no-code authoring, best-in-class intent classification and highest-accuracy speech engine in tandem with NICE’s industry-leading labeled CX interactions data and models. Together, we can help you create frictionless experiences for your customers by meeting them where their journey begins, enabling resolution through data driven self-service, and empowering agents to successfully resolve any needs. 

Let´s say that your user needs to speak to an agent, the customer will be intelligently routed to the right agent based on conversational properties (i.e. if a user wants to know about opening a mortgage, they will be sent to a mortgage specialist, etc.), and the live agent will have the full context of the previous conversation so your customer doesn’t need to repeat themself. And, once your Assistant is in production, you can review transcripts in NICE’s interactions portal to get insights into new topics that should be brought into your assistant as a way to continuously improve the self-service experience. 

Client example: the State of Rhode Island

When the pandemic hit, Rhode Island implemented NICE CXOne + watsonx Assistant across their phone and digital channels in just 12 days. The joint solution scaled to handle 100,000+ calls a day during COVID-19 with a staff of only 40 agents.

Watsonx Assistant automatically handled 70% of all vaccination related calls, provided intelligent routing to the NICE platform when required, and performed “call-backs” and outbound text notifications. Rhode Island automated the case investigation and contact tracing processes, speeding up support for infected residents. 

You don’t need to pick between powerful AI and the contact center, combine the strengths of NICE as a contact center with the capabilities of watsonx Assistant for conversational AI.

Watch this on-demand webinar to explore the full potential of generative AI for customer service and learn how IBM Consulting can help you on your journey.

To get started, head to our website and request a demo

About NICE

NICE CXone is a worldwide leader in AI-powered contact center software. Over 25,000 organizations in more than 150 countries, including over 85 of the Fortune 100 companies, partner with NICE to transform—and elevate—every customer interaction. NICE CXone works hand-in-hand with customers to turn every interaction into an extraordinary and trustworthy experience. NICE CXone combines its innovative cloud platform with its customer-focused expert services and extensive partnerships to help transform every experience and customer relationship for lasting results.

About NICE Virtual Agent Hub

NICE CXone goes beyond traditional contact centers and CCaaS software to deliver a unified CXi (Customer Experience interactions) platform. NICE CXone’s unique CXi approach reaches customers at the beginning of their journey and guides them to a fast, connected, and personalized resolution. It allows a frictionless end-to-end service experience, combining Digital Entry Points, Journey Orchestration, Smart Self-Service, Prepared Agents and Complete Performance Improvement, all embedded with purpose-built CX AI and based on a native, open cloud foundation.

With the NICE CXone Summer 2023 product release and update, IBM watsonx Assistant was introduced as a native integration with Virtual Agent Hub for both Digital channels, as well as the Voice integration. This integration will allow customers to utilize watsonx Assistant’s market leading conversational AI, plus the ability to intelligently route customers to the right live agent queue if and when they need human help.

IBM watsonx Assistant will be introduced as a native integration with VAH both for Digital channels as well as Voice integration. This integration allows customers to BYO Bot apps built within IBM watsonx Assistant as a self service solution plus the ability to route any consumer that needs to talk to an agent – including the right skills plus the transcription and summary of the self service conversation with the Bot.

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